Darien police are asking the public if they have any information about a suspect in an assault at 1 p.m., April 4 in front of a home on Hecker Avenue. The suspect is described as a black male of average build (police had previously identified him as a “man”) and about 6 feet in height. He was last seen getting into a CT Transit bus heading toward Norwalk. He got off at New Canaan Avenue. If you have any information, police ask you to call the Detective Bureau at 662-5330.
A police officer patrolling the Post Road at 4:02 a.m. saw a white van, without any lights on, backing up into the back of Nino’s Restaurant at 390 Post Road, police said. That, with other information, resulted in the arrests of two men accused of trying to steal used cooking oil. Darien police gave this account of what happened in the early morning incident on April 22, a Friday, including accusations not proven in court:
The officer’s suspicions were raised further after hearing a generator being started from the “older” white van and seeing a hose running from the van into a container
When the two men were approached by officers, they remove the hose from the container and put it in the van. Police determined that the hose had been used to syphon used cooking oil from an outdoor vat. Used cooking oil can be resold, so taking it without permission is larceny.
A 51-year-old woman, found in a car with heavy front-end damage on the side of the Post Road at 3:12 a.m. was charged with driving while under the influence, police said. Darien police gave this account of what happened, including accusations not proven in court:
On April 7, a Thursday, an officer patrolling the Post Road near Renshaw Road saw the two-door car and the damage to it. In talking with the woman, the officer noticed a strong smell of alcohol on her breath. The woman wasn’t able to tell the officer where the car had been damaged. She also said she had been drinking alcohol that night in Greenwich.
A man assaulted another male (police didn’t say whether the victim was a man or boy) in front of a house on Hecker Avenue after following the victim off a Post Road bus, then up the street past Darien Police Headquarters, police said. When the victim broke free and entered the unlocked back door of the house, the man forced the door open, punched the victim and stole some cash from his pocket, the victim told police. The victim had injuries on his face and an arm, but he declined medical attention
The incident occurred at about 1 p.m. on April 4, a Monday. According to police, the victim was going to the house on Hecker Avenue because he was doing work there (police didn’t say what kind of work). Police didn’t say whether or not the victim knew the robber, provide a description of what the robber looked like or say how much cash was stolen.
Corbin Drive will be blocked weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting Tuesday, April 12 and continuing each day until there’s no further need for it, Darien police announced Monday. Construction of the first stage of The Corbin District is the reason. UPDATE: The construction phase requiring the blocked access is expected to take 10 business days, weather permitting, said David Genovese, the CEO of Baywater Properties and the principal developer of The Corbin Project. “Vehicles needing to access Corbin Drive will be detoured to Center Street, to Old King’s Highway South, to the eastern end of Corbin Drive,” the announcement said. “Businesses, including the Post Office, will be open and accessible using the construction.”
When Mekai Darden, 21, of Bridgeport showed up in court in that city on March 31, it was for motor vehicle violations that he didn’t need to be jailed for — but Darien police were there to arrest him on a warrant charging him with the theft of a sport utility vehicle. He’s been in jail ever since, for about a week, in lieu of a $100,000 bond. Darien police described what happened with this account, including accusations not proven in court:
On Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, the owner of a Porsche Cayenne told police that the car was missing from his driveway on Contentment Island Road. The keys had been left in the unlocked vehicle the night before.
Back in April of 2014, George Bratensis, then about 65 years old, dropped off Bomani Africa in Darien. Africa entered the People’s United Bank branch on Old Kings Highway North, “pulled out a gun, jumped over the teller counter and ordered a teller to open drawers, saying ‘I will shoot you if you don’t give me all your money!'”
That’s how the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Connecticut described the robbery in a news release announcing that Bratensis was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison for that robbery and a string of others. Bratensis is now 73. Eight years from now, he’ll be 81. Perhaps Africa’s threat to shoot the bank teller was serious: In addition to pleading guilty to one count of robbery in Connecticut, Bratensis and Africa have each pleaded guilty to committing a contract killing of a person in New Jersey.
Sometime between 3 p.m., March 11 and 11:30 a.m. the next day, the catalytic converter on a vehicle parked at Darien Train Station was stolen, the victim told police. The victim said he discovered the theft after he started the vehicle and determined the loud noise coming from it was the result of the theft. He called police at 11:48 a.m.
The theft was the latest of a spate of similar thefts in Darien and beyond. See also:
—Two More Catalytic Converters Stolen from Vehicles in Darien Parking Lots (Feb. 25)
—More Reports From Around Town of Catalytic Converters Stolen From Parked Cars (Feb.
Construction activity for the Corbin District project is again closing Corbin Drive to traffic from the Post Road, this time on Friday, March 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Darien police announced. “Vehicles needing to access Corbin Drive will be detoured to Center Street, to Old King’s Highway South, to the eastern end of Corbin Drive,” the announcement said. “Businesses, including the Post Office, will be open and accessible using the construction.” “Darien Police Department staff will be in the area in order to facilitate the safe and efficient flow of traffic. A large presence of construction vehicles, most notably concrete trucks, will be in the area during this time. Motorists not needing to access the area should consider alternate routes to their destination.”
Sometime before Saturday March 5, while a family was away from their home on Woods End Road, a thief or thieves broke in and stole several pieces of jewelry, police said. According to Darien police:
Police were called at 12:26 p.m. that day. An employee at the house told officers that a second-floor window at the back of the house was smashed. Checking inside the house, police saw multiple rooms on the second floor had been gone through. The homeowners met police the next day and told them the jewelry was missing.
At 10:44 p.m. on Monday, March 7, police were alerted to a burglary in progress at BMW of Darien, but by the time officers arrived on the scene, thieves had: cut the padlock gate, smashed a window at a garage bay, turned off the power at a circuit breaker panel, stole car keys and drove off in two vehicles. The dealership’s alarm company reported several alarm notifications to police, saying at least one person was in the building at 140 Ledge Road, police said. Darien police detectives have started an investigation, which is continuing.
A 46-year-old Westport man got into some kind of physical altercation in a domestic incident after refusing to leave the property of a Darien resident, police said. Darien police gave this account of the incident, including accusations not proven in court:
At 10:58 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, police were called to a home on Elm Street after a report of the altercaton on the lawn of the home. Officers spoke with the Westport man, who said he’d just been in the altercation. The man said he was invited to the residence by the victim. The victim told police that the man had been sending unwanted text messages and had been told not to contact the victim.
Hearing Monday on Proposals to Strengthen Penalties for Juveniles Committing Crimes, Including Car Thefts
The state Legislature’s Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Monday, March 14 on bills meant to strengthen penalties for juveniles who steal cars or commit other serious offenses, State Rep. Terrie Wood said in an email to constituents. You can get on the list of those testifying to the committee if you register online by 3 p.m., Sunday, Wood said. Police department officials in Darien and elsewhere have said weak state laws regarding juveniles charged with crimes has made it difficult to deter them from committing more. Full Text of Wood’s Announcement
Darienite.com received this announcement at 11:30 a.m., Friday:
There are two legislative proposals that are having public hearings early next week that are important to Norwalk and Darien as well as communities across the state. I encourage all interested to submit written testimony and/or give virtual testimony.
A 26-year-old man whose fingerprint was found in a vehicle stolen in Darien has been charged with first-degree larceny in connection with the theft, Darien police said. Darien police gave this account of the matter, including accusations not proven in court:
The vehicle was stolen on Feb. 6, 2021 then found in New Haven six days later, on Feb. 12. Darien police detectives examined the vehicle for evidence, and a state laboratory report indicated that a fingerprint from the vehicle belonged to Kelvin Solares of Hamden.
Darien Police Lt. Alison Hudyma, a 21-year veteran of the Darien Police Department has been promoted to the rank of captain, effective March 20, the department announced. Hudyma has been with the department for 21 years. She graduated from the Connecticut POST-C Police Academy in 2000. After serving for 11 years as a patrol officer, she was promoted to sergeant in 2011 and lieutenant in 2019. “Capt. Hudyma has proven herself to be dedicated and valuable member of the Darien Police Department for over two decades,” Police Chief Don Anderson said. “Her promotion to the rank of Captain is certainly well-deserved,” Anderson said, “and I am highly confident in her ability to continue to provide professional service to all residents and visitors to the town of Darien in her new assignment.”
Hudyma worked in both the Field Services Division and the Training Division, as both an officer and supervisor, and is currently serving as the training lieutenant.
The Darien Police Department announced Friday that vehicles won’t be able to access Corbin Drive from the Post Road downtown because of construction from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, March 7. A lot of construction vehicles, especially trucks carrying concrete will be on Corbin that day. Corbin Drive can be accessed via a detour from Center Street to Old Kings Highway South to the other end of Corbin. The Post Office and businesses on Corbin will be open. The closure is due to a large amount of construction activity for The Corbin District redevelopment.